July/August 2004Vol. 5, No. 6Reassessing Court Performance in Child Protection Cases
The National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues of the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law has recently published a user's manual for conducting court reassessment in child protection cases. The manual is designed to help States update earlier assessments of their courts' performance in child abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption cases. Such reassessment will be necessary for States to maintain eligibility for Federal Court Improvement Program funds.
The manual outlines 15 general issues that fall under the categories of quality of proceedings, organizational characteristics, and State laws and procedures. For each issue, specific indicators are listed, and data sources that could be reviewed as part of the assessment are identified. General information is provided on organizing the assessment, use of questionnaires and focus groups, intensive site evaluations, court observations, and analysis of data. Appendixes provide sample documents.
The full text of Improving State Courts' Performance in Child Protection Cases: User's Manual for Conducting Your Court Reassessment can be downloaded at
For more on assessing court performance, see "Guide and Toolkit Help Courts Improve Performance for Children and Families" in this issue.